From the highlands of Africa to your own plate

Basic description of teff

Teff grain comes from a cereal grass (Eragrostis tef), which traces its origins from East Africa, particularly Ethiopia and Eritrea. Although a tiny grain, with up to three million seeds per kg, teff’s reputation has grown far larger. With its attractive white/brown colour, it is increasingly being celebrated for its high protein, calcium and iron content, as well as being naturally gluten free.

Teff historical background

Domesticated as early as the start of settled agriculture around 8,000 years ago, teff has supported the livelihood of many indigenous communities in the highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it remains a staple crop.

Teff is an ideal option for farmers, due to its broad adaptation to various altitudes and soil conditions – it can survive anything from drought to water logging, and is resilient to weeds and pests.

Despite its dominance in Eritrea and Ethiopia, in the past it’s had a relatively low-profile globally. Until now, there has been insufficient awareness of its incredible health properties – but that is changing!

Teff nutrition in general

Teff has impressive nutritional properties, comparable to dominant world cereals like wheat, rice or maize. But in fact, teff has proved superior to these grains in many areas, particularly in its levels of minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. This has inevitably led to its becoming a performance food of choice for many world-renowned athletes.  Additionally, since it is naturally gluten free, it has proved a useful alternative for people suffering from gluten allergy, gluten being a common protein in wheat and barley. Moreover, its low GI (Glycemic Index), characterised by its slow-release sugars, makes it particularly suitable for diabetics, and for those looking to control their blood sugar. To top it off, its high iron content is often associated with keeping anaemia at bay.

Teff consumption

Teff is becoming increasingly prized as a food rich in nutritional content, with a fascinating cultural history. Although often associated with the famous traditional sourdough pancake (injera), common in Ethiopia and Eritrea, it is incredibly versatile, and is being used in increasingly innovative ways, including cakes, crackers, and breakfast porridge. It is even being fermented to produce beer!

Teff Composition

The mighty grain is

Gluten Free

Teff is naturally gluten free, so is becoming a key cereal choice for sufferers of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. It offers an effective and versatile alternative towheat and barley, whether used for baking or cooking, and whether sweet or savoury.

Fibre Rich

With a recognised need to supplement fibre levels in the average western diet, teff providesa great source of fibre for gut health. Its crude fibre content of up to 4.5% is several times higherthan wheat, sorghum, rice or maize.

High Protein

Teff’s whopping 11% protein content is accompanied by a good balance of essential amino acids, often known as the building blocks of protein.

Low Glycemic Index (GI)

Being of a lowGI (themeasure of the release of sugar into the blood stream), teff helps maintain stable blood glucose levels. This is universally beneficial, but particularlyvaluable for diabetics.

High Nutrient Content

Teff is rich in minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium and zinc. For instance,asingle cup of teff can provide daily values (DV) of19% zinc, 30% of magnesium and iron andeven 360% manganese. This has resulted in its becoming a performance food of choice for athletes. Amongst the general public, its iron content has also been credited for staving off anaemia.